We all have innate intuition: the ability to tune into our own inner compass that can guide us to make decisions for our highest good. In every moment we have the opportunity to be mindful or mindless. Our intuition is a powerful tool to use when making choices for just about anything in life. The more we practice using our intuition on a moment-to-moment basis, the easier it is to connect to our body wisdom and align ourselves with what we need to be fully nourished.
Intuitiive eating can be challenging because we are constantly flooded with new concepts and ideas about what’s healthy. We are faced with mixed messages every day and, as a result, most of us have lost this connection to our deep internal feelings and body cues. Many of us eat because it’s time to socialize or sometimes because we’re bored or emotionally triggered. It’s incredibly important to ask yourself, “am I hungry or thirsty right now?” what does my body truly need? If something doesn’t feel right, slow down, tune in and make a choice that illuminates you inside and out.
Here are 8 intuitive eating principles to help you re-connect to you inner guide: When you take these principles into account, you will then learn how to honor your body from a mindful and peaceful place.
1. Slow down and practice mindfulness
Eating mindfully is a natural and pleasurable experience that supports good health. Your whole body will benefit from slowing down and being present while eating. Remember, it is not just what you eat, but how you eat that matters. Apply this mindfulness practice to everything you do. Stay present with yourself and your food.
2. Let go
Letting go of things in our daily routine that deplete our energy is an incredibly powerful practice. It gives us the clarity that we need so that we can make the choice to reintroduce only those things that truly serve us. It allows space for conscious habits to fully integrate into our lives.
3. Honor your feelings
Anxiety, loneliness, boredom, and anger are emotions we all experience throughout our day-to-day lives. Each has its own trigger, and each has its own appeasement. Food won’t fix any of these feelings. Find ways to nurture, comfort, and resolve your issues without using food. Sure, food may offer a fleeting comfort, maybe distract you from the pain or even numb you into a food coma, but food won’t solve the problem. If anything, eating emotionally will make you feel more disconnected. It’s important to honor your feelings, whatever they may be, and reach out to loved ones when you need support. This will help you get clear and connect you to your heart space once more so you can make conscious decisions.
4. Listen to your gut
We all get “gut feelings” about what is right & wrong. Our bodies intuit what it is we need to maintain balance and internal equanimity. Tune into those messages coming from your gut or your body’s reaction to foods. Generally, your body will speak to you with an internal, yet resounding yes or no. It’s your job to listen. Honor your body and acknowledge the signals it sends you. This sets the stage for re-building trust with yourself and your decisions.
5. Utilize ancient wisdom
Chinese Medicine, Ayurveda and Macrobiotic principles teach us that we contain all the elements of the earth and in order to create inner harmony each element must be represented in our meals. Create balanced dishes using bitter, sweet, salty, sour, and pungent foods & watch as your cravings dissipate pre & post-meal.
6. Honor your health
Nourish your body with the most vibrant and alive food available. Limit overly processed foods and junk foods that continue to trigger your body into wanting more long after you’ve had them. Remember, that you do not have to eat perfect to be healthy, but the cleaner you eat, the more clear you will be to make mindful decisions about what truly serves you. Keep your body well fed with foods that provide adequate energy by eating balanced meals and staying properly hydrated.
7. Respect your fullness
Listen to your body’s signals that tell you that you’ve had enough. Observe the signs that show you are comfortably full and re-discover the Satisfaction Factor. When you nourish yourself with whole foods, in an environment that is inviting and encouraging, the pleasure you derive will be a powerful force in helping you feel satisfied and content. By providing this experience for yourself, you will find that it takes much less food to decide you’ve had “enough”.
8. Make peace
Give yourself unconditional permission to eat from a loving and nurturing place. If you tell yourself that you can’t or shouldn’t have a particular food, it can lead to intense feelings of deprivation that build into uncontrollable cravings and often bingeing. The stress created usually results in overeating, followed by overwhelming guilt. Let go of thoughts in your head that declare that food is “good” or “bad” and begin to connect to eating for sacred nourishment, energy, and life force. This is a critical step in returning to intuitive eating practices.